Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Review: Blood and Gold by Anne Rice

I stumbled upon Anne Rice's Blood and Gold among other various Anne Rice novels at the Baltimore Book Fair last year. Of course, I watched the movie, "Interview with a Vampire" with the beautiful Brad Pitt and not so crazy then, Tom Cruise. We were all jealous of Kirsten Dunst's lucky role. I heard of Anne Rice, and I heard that her books were pretty good. 

So, with that in mind, I set upon reading all of Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicle books and slowly went about buying or borrowing the rest of the novels. What I didn't realize was that Blood and Gold was one of the latest books in her series, and Queen of the Damned was very early. Now, there are a few more books in her vampire chronicle series, which combined the Mayfair Witches, which is also another series that I've read by her. 

With the completion of Blood and Gold, I'm not sure if I will rush to read the remaining few books, Blackwood Farm and Blood Canticle despite the muchly anticipated new book,  Prince Lestat. I don't know, maybe I'll give it a try.

Anne Rice, over the years bounced wildly between good fantasy, to allegory, to religious fanaticism and finally, biography. Her latest book, Blood and Gold is not my least favorite book I've read by Rice, but it's certainly not my favorite. 

Marius, a very ancient vampire who sired Armand and a present character in many of the other books, takes the stage. The same set up of the book occurs but instead of David Talbot scribing memoirs, Marius seems to find it suitable to tell his whole life story to a random ancient vampire who literally came up out of the ice and found Marius. This vampire, who I can't remember the name of, is looking for Mahret, who sired him. Was this vampire mad at Mahret? I'm not sure, nor do I even care, but as Marius dived into the tale, this vampire simply puts away his urges to seek her out and listens to this stranger's long winded story. 

I'll confess, I was relieved that Rice stayed away from religion, the searching for salvation and the question of God. Whether vampires are damned and whether their souls could be saved are frequent motifs in the vampire chronicles series, but for a few books she goes into great detail about religious dogma and even discusses Angels in her vampire chronicle books (really, Anne? Was that a hint of things to come?). In 'Blood and Gold,' however, Rice's writing echoed back to her earlier work with Marius searching for companionship, love and his strong desire to be a teacher and supreme over his pupils. 

I was riveted for the first half of the book. It was an exciting read and I was very glad for the fast past and various action scenes with Marius. Nevertheless, the book was  about 200 pages too long. We found out what happened to Bianca as well as the break up between Armand and Marius. We also uncover Marius' backstory with 'Those Who Must Be Kept.' It seemed to be the same information read in earlier books, except it was Marius speaking instead of Armand or Louis. 

As a reader, I found myself becoming very bored with the book after the exciting first half. I read 'The Vampire Armand' right before I went into this one, and it seemed like nothing new was shared. Sure, I read Marius' perspective, but it doesn't make it new. 

 Overall, I place Blood and Gold above The Vampire Armand and Memnoch the Devil but it pales in comparison to Interview with the Vampire and Queen of the Damned. So, if you like to commit yourself to one author at a time, or book series at a time, make sure to space out the books so it doesn't feel like you are reading the same book over and over. 

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